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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, January 30, 2017

2/2 For SVSU

2-2 for SVSU campaign logo.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the SVSU Foundation’s 2/2 For SVSU campaign. Our goal for this one-day drive was to raise $25,000, which would fund scholarships for about 25 students. Together we exceeded our goal. Thanks to all of you, we are able to provide opportunities to 28 students from the over $28,000 that was raised on Thursday. 

So many of you helped in this effort — from those who donated to those who spread the word about the initiative through social media. Yours truly even participated in a Facebook Live session to promote the campaign. Together, we made a big difference for our students and our community.

Black History Month has arrived

Black History Month graphic. We Remember.

It is February, and I am pleased to see we have a diverse lineup of events planned for Black History Month. I would encourage you to keep your eye on our campus calendars for opportunities to attend. We will host 150 high school students for a regional MLK Symposium tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 3; this is a joint effort with the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony. This is the first time we are hosting the event. A special thanks to SVSU alumna Rehana Kahn-Brown, who worked to bring this to our campus. Three “Soup and Substance” gatherings are planned during this month; these are insightful sit-downs between faculty and students. Fenobia Dallas, associate professor of rhetoric and professional writing, will host the first forum next Tuesday, Feb. 7. in the Student Life Programming Room. Also on Tuesday in the same room, at 7 p.m., viewers can watch the documentary “Land Grab,” about a finance mogul’s dream to create the world’s largest urban farm in Detroit. Guest speaker Lawrence Ross will discuss his book, “Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses” Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms. I would like to thank all the faculty and staff participating and organizing all of this month’s Black History Month events.

New Braun Fellows announced

Arra Ross and Rebecca Schlaff

Please join me in congratulating Arra Ross, associate professor of English, and Rebecca Schlaff, assistant professor of kinesiology, on their selection for this year’s Braun Fellowship. Ross plans to write a book of poetry while Schlaff will continue her research aimed at improving the health of pregnant women and new mothers. The fellowship is an incredible program made possible by a $1.5 million endowment from the Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation and is named in honor of Ted and Ruth Braun, two past Board of Control members and long-time SVSU supporters. I am confident Arra and Rebecca will follow their colleagues who have produced serious scholarship as a result of this fellowship.

Rhea Miller Concert Series resumes

baritone John Muriello

Our arts and culture lovers will have something to look forward to this weekend when we resume our Rhea Miller Concert Series. Internationally-acclaimed baritone John Muriello as well as renowned composer and pianist Richard Pearson Thomas will take to the stage Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free of charge.

FIRST Robotics coming to SVSU

FIRST Robotics of Michigan logo

SVSU will host the statewide FIRST Robotics competition on campus in April, bringing more than 4,000 high school students to campus, plus their teachers, advisors, parents and friends. Events will be staged in the Fieldhouse. I would like to thank Governor Snyder’s office and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau for their support of our proposal. Corporate friends such as Dow and Nexteer also advocated on our behalf. Many people within SVSU worked to make this possible, as well, including our STEM liaisons Adrianne Cole and Carolyn Wierda, Sue Brasseur and The Conference Center staff, as well as our colleagues in Admissions and Athletics. This was a true team effort and will be a great opportunity to showcase our institution and to introduce our outstanding academic programs to a large number of college-bound students. Stay tuned for more details as the event draws closer, but please join me in thanking everyone who had a hand in making this possible.

SVSU to win the Super Bowl

Superbowl 51 logo

A few weeks ago, I discussed the SVSU connection in the NFL’s NFC Championship. Our institution’s presence will continue this Sunday in the Super Bowl. Matt LaFleur, 2003, B.A., is the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterbacks coach. Nick Caserio, 2001, M.B.A., a past graduate assistant coach here, is the director of player personnel for the New England Patriots. Either way, an SVSU alumnus is certain to earn a Super Bowl ring. A former Cardinal earned a Super Bowl ring in 2010 - Paul Spicer played for the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Cardinals are winners, and that will be proven again on Sunday.

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night Saturday, successful Signing Day


I hope to see many of you at the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night sponsored by MEEMIC Insurance at the women’s and men’s basketball games against Grand Valley State University this Saturday, Feb. 4. The 16-4 women’s team tips off at 4 p.m., and the 13-8 men’s team follows at 6 p.m. in the O’Neill Arena. This event is a great time for us to support our student-athletes, and share a family-friendly event. This week also marked National Signing Day in NCAA athletics, as our football, golf, soccer, and swimming programs all welcomed new student-athletes who will be joining us in the fall. Our football team hosted a reception Wednesday evening, where I was joined by faculty, current student-athletes, parents, staff, and members of the local business community. The celebration is brief; the commitment – on all sides – should be lasting. My thanks to everyone who lends their support to attracting new students, including new student-athletes, and to those who work to see that they become successful Cardinal alumni. Go Cards!

Art Faculty Exhibit

SVSU Art Faculty Exhibition

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to visit the University Art Gallery for the latest exhibit, which features art work from full-time and adjunct faculty in our art department. It includes work in all the major disciplines that are offered at SVSU; photography, graphic design, drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media, collage, digital imaging, and more.  The exhibit will remain on display through next Friday, Feb. 10.


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